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Research Assistant - Bioinformatics

We are looking for a talented bioinformatics graduate to take up a position with Prof. Rodney Scott from the University of Newcastle as Research Assistant. The initial position would be for one year commencing as soon as possible with a possible extension beyond this period. One of the projects this person would be involved in is using Mahout on Amazon's E2C to analyse The Cancer Genome Atlas data:

Uncovering the link between obesity and cancer using random forests in an elastic cloud "Big Data, Big Impact" Grant

Our aim is to uncover the underlying cellular mechanisms of obesity-driven cancer and hence propose a two stage research project: In stage 1, we propose to interrogate the largest pan-cancer data resource in the world (TCGA: The Cancer Genome Atlas) with the very latest machine learning models utilizing BigData analysis technologies. In stage 2, we verify the relevance of our findings for Australia by sequencing a local NSW cohort of approximately 96 individuals with colorectal cancer and investigate the potential for a blood-based early detection test.

This work is significant and timely as more than 60% of individuals are currently overweight or obese in Australia. The predicted 2% increase over the next 4 years is alarming as obesity is an established risk-factor for cancer. In fact, since 2007 an estimated 15% increase in cancers as a result of poor diet and exercise behaviours demonstrates the need for  a greater understanding of the mechanisms driving these cancers and to develop methods that identify at risk individuals so that targeted treatment options can be provided.The anticipated outcome from this research will be to identify pan-cancer pathways triggered by obesity. Together with CSIRO’s Preventative Health Flagship these initial findings can be transformed into preventative early detection markers and novel treatments, both of which will have a positive impact on Australia’s cancer burden. Finally, in support with CSIRO’s public relations team, we will communicate the identified impact of obesity or lifestyle choices on cancer risk to the general public using seminars and web 3.0 technology advocating for a change in lifestyle choices. 

For more information please contact

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